Sunday, June 28, 2009

My First Quilt

After months of working on it sporadically, lots of visits to Heather Shelton's house for quilting tutorials and countless requests from Kate for me to finally finish... (imagine a drum roll)...I have done it at last.

Presenting...Kate's kitty cat quilt...
Please feel free to leave your flattering comments...

(OK I totally cheated on the "quilting part" some other very cool lady with a way cooler machine than me did that...but you can still leave your flattering comments...)

Cousins, Canoeing and Cannon Balls

We had the first of our summer visitors! Dave's sister Liz and her family came all the way up here to see us. (OK they were also enticed by an adventure on an Alaskan cruise, but...) The kids we so excited to see their cousins again. It has almost been a year. We were able to do lots of fun things with them during their three days with us.
Here we are taking out the canoes to Keatron island. My girls still call it chincoteauge island (which they so named after reading "Misty of Chincoteauge" last year). The water was choppier than it has ever been been. I was more than a little nervous. This was Sara's first ride with us. I had her, Kate and my camera on my canoe. I am a very poor swimmer. Next time we need to plan better.

The kids had a great time racing and splashing each other with their oars. That was on the other to boats. On our boat we sang songs to try and take our minds off of how scared we were. Kate hyper ventilated the whole time, I screamed a few times and Sara cried a few times. Good times....

The next day we took a picnic to the park. Enjoyed a fabulous lunch - though the kids were nearly starved by the time we ate. Then we drove onto the ferry and headed over to Anderson Island. It was a very pleasant afternoon. It was warm - though it could have been warmer. The park / swimming hole was practically empty ( I could have done without the plump girls in bikinis ruining my photo ops). The lake is so beautiful. It was fun to dream of having a summer home on the shore as we watched the kids dive and brave the slide into freezing cold water. Kate even borrowed some mojo and went down the slide. Our last day was spent hanging out at the Olympia Children's museum, going to the theater to see Night at the Museum two and hanging out way to late into the night.

Note to self...
Things not to do next time visitors come...
Do not let the children into the forest without a lesson first on "leaves of 3 let them be..."
Post coming soon...

Aliens Have Landed

We had Aliens at our house this last week. Fortunately they were well behaved. You never know with extra terrestrials!

I asked Kate a month ago what kind of celebration she wanted to have for her birthday. When she asked for an Alien party I was - not just a little - surprised! I was so happy to have something fun to work with. Dave and I painted planets and hung them from the ceiling. I ordered 50 black balloons to turn the dining room into deep space. We strung twinkly lights along the ceiling to create our own milky way, and hung 30 feet of star fabric on our walls. With the windows blacked out, black lights blazing and some funky alien music going in the background we did the coolest decorating job ever!

And then there was the cake. Kate wanted a rocket. I had so much fun. I love to make birthday cakes. She was the happiest member of the family for days after seeing my completed master piece. Of course everyone wanted the rocket. But since Kate was, after all, the birthday girl it was all hers. I made green jello jigglers and cut up cubes of jello and put it in their sprite to make alien drinks! They loved sucking the jello up through their straws. It was all good fun.

So what did we do for fun? First we had to get in the spirit by making masks. Then we danced. We did lots of dancing. I tried to get the girls into a funky groove. We tried all sorts of crazy alien dances. They even danced with hula hoop space ships. Then we posed in the weirdest alien poses they could muster. We played Galactic asteroid toss. And when on a secret alien mission to collect very important space artifacts.

Everyone went home with some space slime, stickers and glow bracelets. Hopefully everyone went home with an outer space high (at least a sugar high).

Happy Birthday my spunky monkey.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Arrow of Light

(do you like my flaming arrow?)
The Arrow of Light Award is the highest rank in Cub Scouting. A Webelos Scout should set his sights on it early. It's tougher to earn than the Webelos badge, but he can do it! The Cub Scout will have to earn the Webelos Badge and at least eight activity badges, including citizen, Readyman, and Fitness. The total must include one from each of the five activity groups.
By the time he has earned the Arrow of Light Award, he will have learned many things about a lot of subjects - and a lot about Boy Scouting. He will be ready to join a Boy Scout troop!


Props to the most awesome cub scout leader ever, Sister Gale. She had Chase as a Wolf and a Webelo. Without her, I don't know if I would have been "on the ball" enough to help Chase along.

Chase has had a fantastic year of scouting. I have seen him working to pass off requirements, keeping track of things, keeping records etc... He was so excited to be getting his Webelos badge and then his Arrow of Light.
Now he will get to move on to 11 year old scouts and be with his other friends again (they are a year ahead in the church world).

Here are some pictures from his ceremony. This was our second Arrow of Light ceremony to prepare for. They are so much fun. I think a good ceremony makes a huge impact. and hopefully lasting memories.

talking about the seven virtues of scouting and the path to the Arrow

crossing over the bridge from cub scouting into scouting

being greeting by the scout troop, his friends

reciting the cub scout oath one last time

receiving his award
Congratulations Chase - you are a hard worker!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Made My Day!

My Friend Kathryn sent me this in an email. It made my day. I will probably listen to it a hundred times today! Poor Emily I said to her, "Emily look at how beautiful the piano can be played if you practice really hard." Her response was to break down in tears because I have such high expectations. SIGH... I sure wish I had practiced better. If my teachers had given me music that inspired me maybe...

But anyway, her is something beautiful to make you smile today. Thanks Kathryn!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Katrina...that is Sara's new nickname. It fits her perfectly.

Here is the definition of Hurricane:
a violent tropical cyclone with winds moving at 73 or more miles per hour, typically causes massive destruction in it's wake, often accompanied by torrential rains

Here is that definition personified:
a violent child that moves at amazingly alarming speeds destroying any since of order and cleanliness in your home, typically followed by lots of crying

You see...hardly a difference. Well except most places are susceptible to damaged by hurricanes at most a few times a year. My home on the other hand is host everyday to a little monster hurricane. So we call her Katrina.

She has a mean streak a mile long. She pinches and pushes, pulls hair, head-butts, gouges and throws. And when you try to stop her it only escalates. The only option is to run.

And then there is the mess left in her wake. I can follow the trail she leaves in my house. First she hits the dresser in my room - all her clothes are on the floor. Next she moves to the girls room - every toy within reach is on the floor. Then the bookshelf - every book is on the floor. Her next stop is usually the powder bathroom - all the toilet paper is on the floor. In the living room next - all the DVDs are on the floor. The kitchen is where she must have touched down, because - every towel, cooking utensil, sip cup accessory, bowl, cup, and food within her reach is ON THE FLOOR.
Do you see the pattern. She and the floor must have some little contract going.

I used to wonder why people choose to live in Hurricane districts. Now I have some empathy. Sara is too cut to be too impossible. And I am sure Florida has it's advantages too.

Love From Afar

Great Grandpa has been in the hospital these last two weeks. Here we were gearing up for all the fun of having him visit us again and just a few days before his visit he started feeling really horrible. Next, he found himself in the hospital about to have emergency surgery to remove what ended up being a cantaloupe sized growth from his intestines et al. Lumps and bumps have become such a scary thing. Especially with age. Immediately I think we all thought the same thing and reached the same horrible conclusion. Our Il Capo had cancer...

Well I am overwhelmingly happy to report that the wonderful pathologist didn't keep us waiting in dreadful suspense for long. A few days after surgery the results came back - no cancer. As soon as Grandpa recovers from his 5 hour surgery and super extreme weight loss program (removal of tumor) he will be back to his healthy spunky self.

I hated being so far away. There are many disadvantages to haven chosen to be further away from family. I think the worst is when they are sick and you are truly worried about them. You know the kind of worry I mean. The, "are they going to make it" kind of worry. If the kids were out of school, and I wasn't in the middle of buying a house I would have driven down. So...what do you do when you are far away and you want someone to know you are thinking of them CONSTANTLY and that you LOVE them a ton?

Give them a HEART ATTACK! I love care packages. They are so fun to put together. The whole time you are thinking about how much you love that person as you ponder about what to fill your empty box with.

I loved sending packages to Dave while he was in Egypt. I can't wait to send packages to my little missionaries and college students. But this week I got to send one to my Grandpa.

Here we are working away at personalizing our many, many hearts. Even Baby Sara got in on the fun. I think though that in her case, most of her decorating ended up on her legs than on her share of the hearts.

So Grandpa, I am so glad that you are well on your way to recovery! I hope our little heart attack brightened your stay in the hospital and that you were constantly reminded how much we love you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good Bye Hoffman Hill

We have put in a bid for a house in Battle Ground. We will see if we get it. There are two other bids apparently. We are attempting to buy our first choice. We found out our neighbors are LDS and have kids our kids ages. That makes it even more desirable.

So now it is time to say good bye to our house on Hoffman Hill. I have really loved this house. It is our first house and and I think because of that and all the good memories that were made there, it will always have a special place in our hearts.

If you want to see our here!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

House Hunters

We went house hunting again this Friday. I was nervous. As always. The house part of this move has been really hard. There just isn't anything "perfect" within our price range. And then Dave and I have different priorities. We go back and forth on living in a neighborhood or not. The area is so saturated with LDS members that there are 6 wards within 15 minutes of where Dave will be working. That means six wards we could be living within. Looking into schools, commute times, church, neighborhoods is just a lot of work. And there never has been "that house" that fits all the criteria, so we have struggled to choose what to compromise. As per this house hunting expedition Dave has compromised a little on the price tag and I have compromised a little on land. We looked at something like 15 homes. 12 hours of house hunting. They should make a reality TV episode just about our epic search and call it something like, "Finding Life after the Army." But, I am happy to report...we were victorious. It might be too early to celebrate. Most would probably wait until the docs were signed. But for Dave and I to find three houses that we both like a lot...that... friends and family is no small miracle. So here they are in the order that we prefer them.
This is our number one choice. click here for the details.
This is our second choice. Click here for more details.

This is our third choice. Click here for more details.

Every house is in a different ward. Mostly different schools too. But each of them has something we really love about it.

The first house is on a cleared acre. Ready for us to put in a garden, orchard, beautiful deck. Whatever we want, it is a clean slate. The property backs up to a greenbelt with a seasonal stream that runs through. The house is a shocker. The garage alone is almost as big as my house. But what really sells it is the possibility for entertaining. We always have wanted a house that lends itself to having company. The kitchen is huge, with a gathering room right off the kitchen with beautiful french doors going out to the patio. But best of all there is a bonus room perfect for toys now and big kid games like pool, air hockey and fus ball later. And then off of that room is a theater room. No windows, split-leveled seating, and a TV for a wall. Super awesome.

The second house is a bit over the "Dave" budget. But it is a gem. No costs were spared. The carpeting alone is like walking on a cloud. The master bathroom has a tub sunk into the floor. Then downstairs is a perfect family room with a wet bar, a scrapbook room, a sauna, three beautiful bedrooms with their own sliding doors to the backyard and two huge closets (more like rooms)for storage. The house is right in town. We would have very nice views out of our wall of windows. But the kitchen is bad and NO PANTRY. It is also in the "older" ward. But five minutes to work, school, shopping and play!

The third house has beautiful curb appeal. It is in a very nice neighborhood. All the homes are on an acre so there is lots of space and privacy. It is in the ward Dave and I liked the most too. We love the lot for this property. Nothing really special about the house. Just good and solid and it meets all of our needs. But the land is awesome. We would have our own seasonal pond. It was beautiful. We would have to clean up some of the wildness of the lot to get views of the pond from the house. But it was so pretty.

Anyway...lots of choices! You can place a vote on the sidebar. Let's see which house has the most "friend and family" appeal!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


No names will be used in this story in order to protect the secret identity of this little super natural girl. We wouldn't want all the villains of the world trying to steal her away to sneak out and consume the world's candy supply.

This little girl that I know loves candy. She knows where it is in every store she goes to. Even if she has never been there before. It's like she has a sixth sense, or super powers. That's got to be it. This little Bit must have super human smell. And that scense of smell is specifically trained at detecting sweets.

One day we were at a Chevron filling up gas on our way down to California and I came out from taking a potty break to hear this little candy-holic squealing with delight. As I came around the corner this is what I saw. There she was running up and down the candy isle filling her arms with treats. I couldn't help but think she was acting as if she we on some game show. You know like the people they used to stick in the "money machine" and you would watch them frantically grab for bills.

She really wanted one of those nerds rope things. I helped her buy the Dots. They were gone in minutes. I don't know how she ate them so fast. I thought I would find them all spilled out all over the car. Nope...she ate them minutes.

When she is at home she goes to the pantry, points to the door and goes uhnn. I think that means she wants something. So I open the door, and we play this game. I point to things she might like or can have and she goes uh-uh. I think that means no. So then we go to the fridge. Nothing in there looks good either.

I have a secret stash though that I try to hide from her. But if I get something yummy out, even if she is way upstairs. She knows. It's that super smell power she has. She tummy surfs down the steps in no time. Then she is standing there below me pulling at my shirt. I think she is developing another super power. It rarely expresses itself in humans. It is way more common for puppies to develop the super power of "puppy eye". But this little girl...her eyes are so big and pretty. And she is an expert at letting them get all filled up with tears.

She gets what she wants. But someday I think I'm going to have to sign her up for candy-holics anonymous.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Piano Recital

This was forever ago it seems but I am finally posting it. This is Emily's second recital. We weren't clever enough the first time to make a video. (how can that be right...just spaced it) Emily has gone through a little bit of a rough spell with piano lately. She isn't patient enough to read the sheet music and wants to learn everything by ear. But I won't play it for her because I want her to learn the notes.

We fought, sweat, blood and tears (OK just tears, but LOTS of them) to help her learn this song. It was her sole thing to practice for probably two months. But she finally grasped it. Once she new how it should sound she took off with it and she plays it wonderfully now.

Her teacher, Brother Robertson, says there is a learning hump children have to get over before they really start to take off. I think Emily will be there soon.

In the meantime. Whether Emily is playing something beautiful or slamming out notes, it is good to hear her music in our home. And she still loves it. Even after all the struggling and unusual and very welcome.

Emily's Book Club

This one of those things that I am really happy with. Emily and I started a Mother / Daughter book club a year ago after seeing how much fun her cousin Maddie and Aunt Andrea were having. We invite her friends from school and church and started with Misty of Chincoteague. Now a year later we are still doing it. We have read so many great books.

I had gotten out of the habit of reading to the kids. With all of my novels and chapter books packed away in boxes stored under the house I got lazy. I love to read children's literature. The other kids read along with us. But the parties belong to just Emily and I.

I think she really needs that just Mommy and me time. I have enjoyed spending that special time with her alone too. Sometimes you forget how wonderful your children are until they are alone with you, one on one, and no siblings to play off of.

This last month, after a whole year of really great books we read Trumpet of the Swan. It was my very favorite book in 5th grade. I loved it so much more than Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little and have never understood why it gets so much less attention. For our end of the month celebration Emily prepared some discussion questions for her friends. We talked about honor and friendship and tried to figure out how animals have instincts like flying south and how to build nests. Emily helped me make swan cream puffs. The crazy oven cooked them too hot and I made them too big maybe so we could use some more cream puff baking practice. Then Emily and I taught all the girls how to make swan shaped balloon animals. It was a lot of fun.
I am so grateful to all the good Mom's and Daughters we have in our group to make this such a valuable club for Emily and I.

You can visit our book club blog here, put together by one of the Mom's in our club. We hope we inspire you like Maddie and Andrea inspired us.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My First Student Of The Month

Can you believe my kids have never been student of the month? Frankly I can't. It does help to soften the blow to my Motherly ego that Chloe Clark doesn't do student of the month. So there hasn't been much opportunity... But still, a Mom can't help but be excited when it finally comes time for her kid to be honored right?!

Well Chase made me proud this month. Mrs. Steele awarded him Student of the Month because he has great answers. I know it sounds weird. But this is what she said on our way back to the classroom. "Inevitably whenever the class and I are stumped on how we can answer a question Chase comes up with the greatest answer. He thinks about things deeply and often times thinks about things from different perspectives. He really is brilliant." That made me smile.

So Chase is my little man with all the answers. Way to go Chaseroni!

Kate's Last Day Of Preschool

Katie is done with preschool. Another baby all grown up. Funny how I was so excited at the thought that she would be my last one at home and that soon I would have tons of free time while all my kids were at school. Now I am so thankful that I have Sara to keep me company. I will miss Kate when she heads off to Kindergarten this Fall.

We have really enjoyed Kate's Co-op preschool. I volunteered in her class about three times a month and got to have lots of learning fun with her. We enjoyed a field trip every month. Kate loved all of the science experiments she got to do. Ms. Laurel was a fantastic teacher.

I think Kate's favorite part was that her class was right across the hall from Emily's class. She got to see her at school three times a week. And really feels like Chloe Clark is her school too.

Congratulations Sunshine!